The last thing on my mind when I attended my first NUCA convention was becoming NUCA Chairman and writing this column. But here I am, and I’m glad to be here. First, let me thank Ryan Schmitt for two years of outstanding NUCA leadership. Ryan, along with our Strategic Planning Task Force, Executive Committee and CEO Bill Hillman and his team, laid the ground work for NUCA’s strategic plan and its early implementation. I will continue to push for the plan’s top objectives: Increasing membership and member services.

We’ve had a lot of success boosting membership with NUCA-sponsored direct drives, where chapter members recruit new members into local chapters. We added more than 300 new member companies in 2012. We welcomed two new chapters, NUCA of DC and NUCA of North Texas, into NUCA last year, and we continue to work to create new chapters across the country.

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NUCA is largely dependent on the success of its chapters, and the success of chapters is dependent on member involvement. If you join a local association and don’t participate in its programs to promote and improve your industry, then you are missing out on a lot of benefits. For example, NUCA has a new member service to help you find the right people to hire. Go to to create your employer profile and get started!  Employers can choose from several packages; search for candidates based on specific qualifications; create an online resume “agent” to e-mail qualified candidates; post jobs and internships; get help with government compliance and much more. Job seekers can also post their resume for free.

I came to NUCA national as an independent member in 2004 and served as NUCA of DC’s first president. My involvement in the national and local chapter has increased my pride in our industry and my understanding of the value of having a group of contractors speak as “one voice.” We have great national and local staffs to lobby for us. They educate lawmakers about the importance of infrastructure funding and the need to reduce the regulatory and tax burden on small businesses. But the people who have the most impact on members of Congress are constituents — you, me and other contractors that live, work, spend money, pay taxes and vote in their districts. And one of the best ways to reach them is getting involved in NUCA and attending this year’s Washington Summit, May 7-9 in Alexandria, Va. (Visit for details.)

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I want to thank all of you for your continued support of NUCA and your chapters. I am looking forward to visiting chapters around the country this year, meeting contractors and associates, sharing information and doing whatever I can to offer support. Don’t be shy — if you need something, contact me at or 202.269.6694. You can also contact the NUCA national office at 703.358.9300 and we will lend a hand.  

Chairman’s Message

Ryan SchmittWith each edition of Utility Contractor magazine, I am given the opportunityto communicate to all NUCA members (and non-members)about the accomplishments of the association. Despite the trying “writer’sblock” I often have to overcome to get the creative juices flowing, itreally is a rewarding part of being Chairman. As I write what is my lastChairman’s Message, I find it satisfying to reflect on the progress NUCAhas made in the last two years.

My first Chairman’s message was published in the February 2011 issueand it was titled “NUCA Can!” Much like the title of that message,NUCA has established a culture of achievement over the last two years.Two years ago, we were still reeling from the deepest depths of the recession and wonderingwhat our future held. There weren’t many positive signs to hold on to, but despite theuncertainty, NUCA remained steadfast in its commitment to persevere despite a challengingeconomy.

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Failure was not an option and NUCA went about its business of becoming a stronger, moreeffective association. Insightful leaders of years past were more intuitive than they knew whenthey challenged a committee to develop a five-year strategic plan to chart our course for thefuture. Their timing could not have been better, because this plan has been our steadfast rudderin an otherwise tumultuous sea of uncertainty and fiscal discretion.

NUCA has endured many changes in recent years. Some were planned, while some werenot. Regardless, NUCA adapted well and is a better, stronger association today. NUCA is wellpositioned now and for the future to be the nation’s largest association representing the utilityand excavation contracting industry. We can all be proud of our accomplishments, but thereis plenty of work still to be done. I am handing over the gavel with confidence knowing thatthe strength of our leadership, plus the focus of our strategic plan, is a winning recipe to takeNUCA to future successes. NUCA has done well and NUCA will continue to do great thingsin the future.

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the great people who I have had thepleasure of meeting and working with during my tenure as Chairman. Despite the challengesof being away from work, the most rewarding part of this position was to travel around thecountry and meet fellow NUCA members. It was always my goal to learn something new everytime I visited with a contractor or chapter during my travels. This was not difficult as wehave many talented and skilled members. My NUCA trips educated me and helped make mycompany back home better. It was also very rewarding to be welcomed so heartily by so manyhardworking and dedicated people.

I would also like to commend the NUCA staff for their hard work and to recognize the strongleader we have in Bill Hillman. We are fortunate to have their talent and skill but more so, weare served well by their “can do” attitude and their flexibility to do whatever it takes. I canalso tell you that NUCA is blessed to have such a committed and talented man as FlorentinoGregorio take over as our next Chairman of the Board. I look forward to his leadership and theleadership of the Board to take NUCA to the next level of greatness.

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Yours in service,

Ryan Schmitt
NUCA Chairman of the Board

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